FRENCH OPEN PREVIEW

The winner of Sportsmart and Wilson’s tennis sponsorship program, Scott Lyons, provides regular blog articles on his favourite topic – tennis …

Well, what a crazy time in tennis. Over the last few years we have debated over who the current (and perhaps all time) best player in the world is- Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal? We have automatically pencilled Nadal in to take out the French Open year after year, with Federer being rated the next best chance at taking him out. So where did Novak Djokovic come from?!

Djokovic is undefeated- yes, undefeated- this year. He has not had a “cruisey” run through the tournaments he has won either, taking out both Nadal and Federer numerous times. Until last month Nadal hadn’t lost on clay in two whole years. However, Djokovic has just recently beaten him twice on clay, both in finals. So effectively we are faced with a three man competition- the player who has been unstoppable at the French Open for so long, the player who is currently unstoppable full stop, and then arguably the greatest player to have ever played the game (at least records wise anyway).

As for my tip? I genuinely have no idea. I would love to see Federer recapture his old form and take out the tournament, but I think he would be the clear outsider to win of the three. I think you have to go on current form, and so I can’t go past Novak Djokovic.

The draw on the women’s side is wide open. Apart from the three titles from Justine Henin (who has now retired), no woman has won multiple French Open titles since Steffi Graf. It is always the tournament full of surprises, which makes it more than hard to pick a winner!

World number one Caroline Wozniacki is yet to win a grand slam title and you can’t help but feel that it is bound to come soon.  She has won six titles for the year and is in very good form. She hasn’t however made it past the quarter-finals at the French Open, yet we must remember she is only twenty still! Kim Clijsters is a popular favourite to win the French Open this year, despite having never won it before. She has won the last two grand slam titles though, so there is a good chance at continuing that grand slam form. World number three, Vera Zvonareva is not without a chance herself, although there are many question marks over her ability to perform well on the big stage, having lost three grand slam finals before. The Williams sisters are both not taking part in this year’s French Open!

As for Sam Stosur, I think she is a big chance to win the French Open and I am tipping her to do so (I’m probably a little bit biased, I’ll admit!). She is healthy, in good form and plays well on clay. Her top spin- both with ground strokes and serves- is the heaviest of any woman in the tournament, and this will help her massively on clay. Let’s hope she is able to win her first grand slam, as I’m sure all of Australia is right behind her!

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